The Lord tells us clearly in Genesis 1:26-28 how He will answer the prayer He asks us to pray to our Heavenly Father: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
He is using US to answer that prayer, as we are created to 1.) Reflect His image (Genesis 1:26a – personifying Him as the Holy Spirit expresses Himself through us), 2.) Rule over the earth for Him (Genesis 1:26b – “have dominion,” just as He would, in all situations in which we have been given authority), and 3.) Reproduce (Genesis 1: 28 – do our part to fill the earth with offspring who will reflect, rule and reproduce with us and then join us in the battle). This is how Jesus’ prayer is being answered and His kingdom (His rule), is coming, in time, on the earth!
With that vision before us, assuming we are living by faith and not by the law, as we have seen in past posts, we are absolutely dangerous! I know when I am talking to the checkout girl at Safeway, the auto mechanic who works on my car, and my neighbor in our apartment complex, that the love of God will reach out through me and envelop them. Ironically, that will occur only as long as I realize I don’t love them because I am a poor, selfish sinner who can’t even begin to do so!
But Hallelujah!, “the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22). As I face and eagerly embrace my inability to ever love anybody with agape love, that love comes roaring out of my life. Miracle of miracles, it inundates all with whom I meet. It is the very love of God, which I am unable to produce and am even completely unaware when it is present.
For the first ten years Jill and I were married, I was a high school chemistry teacher and basketball coach. At that point, I retired to begin (and then administrate) a cooperative/home school in our church as a full-time elder, a wonderful experience for all five of the Andrews. After another 20 years, Jill and I and 15 other couples left to plant a new church in a small town in Eastern Washington, and I needed a job.
I was still a certified public school teacher, so I thought, “Why not substitute?”, and I did so. I was shocked at what had happened to the public school system in the 20 years I had been absent—the disrespect, the lack of discipline, the disinterest in learning and the helplessness of good teachers to make any real progress in their teaching tasks. The inmates were running the asylum.
I bailed out of subbing after three days! My attitude, whenever I saw a group of kids waiting for the school bus, was to mutter “You poor fish! You are consigned to prison for 12 years and you don’t even know it. Since you don’t treat me with the respect due me, I will not only not love you (as I am commanded to do!), I want nothing to do with you!”
Ten years later, I took a second crack at substituting in the same small town, and there was a dramatic difference. I was able to substitute for six enjoyable, productive years before finally having to call it quits, but only because my increasingly limited mobility would no longer allow it.
Did the students change in the ten years I did not substitute? No—if anything, they were even worse than before. “I” was what had changed. During those ten years I began to understand what we are discussing in these postings. I am a hopeless sinner who cannot genuinely love anyone but myself. However, I now know, God has forgiven me permanently and fully, and now lives in my heart, Wherever I go, whatever I am doing, though not one bit more “righteous,” I am now dangerous!
That is only because Jesus is telling me the same thing He told His disciples, who were sinners just like me, as He sent them out: “And as you go, proclaim (because you know yourself), ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand ‘” (because you are on site!) – (Matthew 10:7).
As I entered the school building each morning, I knew the kingdom of God was coming to that school. My attitude had become, “Lord, who are You going to love today at Central Valley High School through me? Who am You going to touch? Who will see Your kingdom, Your rule, in me today—naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously—in spite of all my constant weakness and failure? Let’s attack the gates of Hell that stand around this school today!”
This is our heritage. This is our calling. This is who we are. We are on the attack. All the while, our attitude remains, “Who, me?,” as we relax, don’t try to do anything but just live our lives. We are now, indeed, dangerous to the kingdom of darkness!